Thursday, September 22, 2005

Onward Christian Teachers, Marching as to War


It's really over. That whole "America" "freedom of religion" "separation of church and state" thing was fun for a while. Really. I used to enjoy it. All done with now. It makes sense, really. We like to say that this country was founded on the idea of being free to practice your religion, but that's not really true. It was about the freedom to practice one, specific religion - firebrand Puritanical Christianity. Everyone else can get the fudge out, as far as those weirdos are concerned.

I hope you guys are happy.

Seriously. I hope one day all these idiots who want to force their asshole personal beliefs involving angels and afterlifes and little decorative wood carvings replete with inspirational psalm excerpts on the rest of us realize how stupid that was. How now that your religion has become your government, it doesn't really belong to you any more. How people like George Bush will pretend to believe what you do, but really violate every last tenet of your shared faith. That you're sacrificing everything, including the meaning of your religion and the message of your god, for a little fleeting taste of power.

Today, the House of Representatives voted to allow faith-based pre-school and day care programs like Head Start to discriminate against non-Christians. Who exactly are these people Representing, these housed Representatives? No one was there representing my beliefs, I can tell you that much. I know because there weren't any reports of people flinging feces at the Republicans who backed this legislation.

The House voted Thursday to let Head Start centers consider religion when hiring workers, overshadowing its moves to strengthen the preschool program's academics and finances.

The Republican-led House approved a bill that lets churches and other faith-based preschool centers hire only people who share their religion, yet still receive federal tax dollars.


Now, some of you out there may be saying..."What's the big deal? So a church pre-school that gets federal money wants to only hire people who believe what they do?" You don't get it, okay? You're not gonna get it. Probably because you are a person who regularly discriminates against others, so you find it to be acceptable behavior.

Maybe you don't realize you're doing it. Maybe you think you treat people fairly. But if you're the sort of person who finds it perfectly okay for the government to pay an institution to educate kids, and for that institution to turn around use that money to hire only people who fit a specific religious profile, you and I aren't going to be on the same page any time soon.

It's indoctrination on a political level. It's the government paying organizations to train kids to think in a certain, governmentally-approved way.

Launched in the 1960s, the nearly $7 billion Head Start program provides comprehensive education to more than 900,000 poor children. Though credited for getting kids ready for school, Head Start has drawn scrutiny as cases of financial waste and questions about academic quality have surfaced nationwide.

900,000 children! A large segment of a future generation. No one should have access to these impressionable young minds but rabid Christian ideologues? Excuse me?

GOP lawmakers, with backing from the White House, contend that preschool centers should not have to give up their religious autonomy in order to receive federal grants.

"This is about our children, and denying them exemplary services just because the organization happens to be a religious one is just cruel," said Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.

Rep. Foxx knows her shallow, meaningless rhetoric. She does the classic GOP technique of turning a blatantly discriminatory policy and making it seem like an unfortunate reaction to other, more pernicious discrimination. In this case, a law giving a large organization the okay to ban Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and anyone else for whom Jesus is not operating as a co-pilot is not a response to discrimination. It is discrimination.

The Republican plan would, for example, let a Catholic church that provides Head Start services employ only Catholic child-care workers.

Democrats and Republicans offered different interpretations of whether the Constitution, federal law and court rulings protected — or prevented — federally aided centers from hiring based on religion.

There's an underlying issue here that the article isn't doing a good job of fleshing out. Really, the argument comes down to the role these church schools take in education. They should be getting federal grant money only if their curriculum is non-religious in content. Can we all agree on that, at least? That it's wrong for the government to give money to a school that teaches kids about Heaven, Hell, The Devil, transsubstantiation and the importance of smearing ash on your forehead periodically to "freak out the squares"?

But, then, if you concede that these schools merely function out of a church, and don't actually teach church teachings, then why do the teachers have to share the same faith as everyone else? Why can't they just come in and teach, and then go home and do their own thing? I mean, I'm not suggesting a strident atheist should come in to a church school and blow the kids minds with Sartre plays or anything. But, I mean, you know, come in and teach the multiplication tables or, I don't know, why you shouldn't hit another child in the face even if they steal your favorite Teletubbie from out of the communal toy basket.

Or are these religious weirdos just trying to segregate themselves from everyone else. They only want to deal with people who share their odd little worldview. Possibly because they know the free exchange of ideas exists only to tear down the weak, poorly constructed foundation of their closest-held beliefs. Any dissent at all might kill the whole effect for them.


Anonymous said...

blah, blah, blah...typical liberal rant.
Think for yourself instead of watching too much TV and grow up. Read some history books or something.

Lons said...

I've read a few history books. Enough to know that when someone begins a comment with: "blah blah blah...typical liberal rant," I can safely ignore them.